Indonesia hopes to build first Nuclear Power Plant in West Kalimantan
Posted on September 11, 2012, Tuesday
BANJARMASIN, W. KALIMANTAN: Jakarta Globe and Antaranews reported that the central government has expressed interest in constructing a nuclear power plant in West Kalimantan, citing the island large supplies of uranium and geologic stability, a senior official said here on Monday.
South Kalimantan Governor Rudy Ariffin, who is also the head of the Forum for Kalimantan Development Acceleration and Revitalization, said representatives of the central government and governors of Kalimantan discussed the issue in a recent meeting.
The central government was represented by officials from the office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, among others, according to Rudy.
“Kalimantan is a fairly rich region; not only in coal and gold, but also in uranium in West Kalimantan,” Rudy said, adding that the plant could provide electricity for the entire Kalimantan region.
The plan is part of the government’s efforts to implement the Master plan for Acceleration and Expansion of the Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI).
A proposal to build a nuclear plant in West Kalimantan was first offered by the secretary of the West Kalimantan administration, M. Zeet Hamdy Assovie, last year.
“The West Kalimantan governor has invited Batan [the National Atomic Energy Agency], leading to the conclusion that West Kalimantan is the best place to develop nuclear power because we have the raw materials.” Zeet was quoted as saying by news portal jpnn.com in December.
He added Kalimantan was not part of the so-called “Ring of Fire,” unlike most other regions in Indonesia, and thus was not susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis.
Indonesian environmental group Walhi, however, was quick to reject the proposal, citing the danger of leaked reactors, even in developed countries like Japan.
An official with Walhi’s West Kalimantan chapter, Hendrikus Adam, said the region should not feel the need to build a nuclear plant just because the nearby Malaysian state of Sarawak had announced a plan to commence with nuclear plant construction in 2014.
Indonesia has been operating three nuclear reactors for research purposes in Tangerang, Bandung and Yogyakarta, but it has never operated a nuclear power plant.
The original plan to build a plant in Jepara, Central Java, met strong resistance from local residents and environmental groups.